Fast food has a reputation for being high in trans-fat, saturated fat, sodium and calories, while having next to no healthy ingredients. For example, one loaded hamburger, fries and pie contain more saturated fat than you should eat in two days.
However, things are changing. The past few years have seen many fast-food restaurants make a concerted effort to improve their menus. As a result, many now offer low-fat options and fresh ingredients. Choose wisely and you no longer have to sacrifice a healthy meal for the sake of convenience.
You could even use the right fast food meals to lose weight.
But to do this, you must be an informed customer, resist menu temptations and make healthy choices. Finding a nutritious, cheap, convenient meal may be a challenge, but it can be done.
Order lean meats
Steer clear of meals labeled fried, breaded, basted, creamy, crispy, batter-dipped, au gratin, scalloped or Alfredo. These dishes are usually high in unhealthy fats, sodium and calories. Instead, go for lean meat options that are broiled or grilled and fresh or steamed veggies. If needed, special order your food to be prepared in a healthier manner.
Stick with simple
A salad may seem like a low-fat option until you drown it in fried toppings, high-fat dressing and cheese. A deli sandwich is a great choice until you add the mayo, spreads and cheeses. The same goes for a baked potato. What about the butter, cheese, bacon, salt, and mountain of sour cream?
Simple, fresh ingredients are best. Ask for dressings and toppings on the side so you can monitor how much is added.
Cut portions down
A single serving at many restaurants could feed an entire family. The average meal at a fast-food joint can contain more than 1,000 calories. Extra-large options should be replaced with smaller portions or shared with family or friends. Don’t forget the calories contained in your drinks. Often overlooked, the calories in sodas and sweetened beverages add up quickly.
Try unsweetened iced tea or lemon water instead.
Unfortunately, when you’re in a hurry and aren’t thinking about what you’re eating, you tend to overeat and overindulge.
Slow down and chew slowly. Your food will digest easier and you’ll most likely eat less. Remember, it takes time for your brain to get the message that you’re satisfied. So chew well and give your brain the chance it needs.
Do your homework
Resources are available to help you determine the healthiest fast food choices. Being ignorant of the facts is one of the main reasons you’ll wind up making unhealthy food choices.
Many restaurants display nutrition information in the restaurant or on their websites. Go online and find a site that compares several restaurants at one time. Other great sites list restaurant menu items that cater to certain dietary needs such as allergies, diabetes, heart disease or weight management.
Better yet, download a mobile phone app with nutrition information by restaurant, and when you must go out, choose accordingly and do your homework.
Don’t forget to move your body
Remember that exercise is a huge part of the equation when it comes to achieving weight loss. Once you combine healthier food choices and working out, your goals will become much easier to attain.
You got this.